The very logo of the movie Dhobi Ghat itself marks the map of Mumbai, embedded with four principal faces with diverse physiognomies--a clear implication of the contextual content. Keeping apart the actual locale that very much exists in the south Mumbai,one cannot but strain nerves with the etymological or lexical interpretation of the nomenclature " Dhobi Ghat". " Dhobi" denotes washerman, and " ghat" suggests a level place next to a river where the people are cremated ( in Hindu lexicon), bathe, clean, collect( water) or perform any rite. Naturally, the place under discussion stands for washing dirty laundries. Suggestively, it is the city ( Mumbai) where all and sundry empty their unwanted emotions.
The movie is of multiple formats ending up with singular course. Arun, Munna, Shai and Yasmin are from independent backgrounds. Arun is a painter struggling with his endeavours to bloom the squalid slums on the canvas ; Shai, an NRI investment banker snaps around rank and file ; Munna collects stale laundries and wash them at the dhobi ghat ; Yasmin strives with video diaries, meant to be sent to her brother. All the characters use their respective auxiliaries to give vent to their sentiments. Arun uses brushes and colors; Shai does with lenses; Munna with clothes during day-time and a stick at night; while Yasmin a video camera to install herself before it. Eventually, four characters, like four rivulets, merge into single confluence physically or psychologically. Arun comes by the video-tapes left unsent by Yasmin, who happens to be the previous tenant of the apartment subsequently rented by the painter Arun. Shai meets Arun in an painting exhibition, and they come closer. Munna, a young aspirant who tries his luck tooth and nail to become a film actor, meets Shai who finds a romantic respite in him. The characters who came into contact with one another virtually ( except Yasmin, whose contact was essayed only visually) get isolated or cut asunder.
The film is aptly branded as Mumbai Diaries. It is a page-torn documentation of different cities exposed in one city. Kiran Rao has presented an asset. Nooks and corners of the city have been brilliantly captured giving birth to a comprehensive albums of authentic recordings. The maiden venture has proved her worth. Photography has profusely added to lyricism and the dilly-dally pace even in the teeth of the hurry-scurry convention of shots is an exceptional example.The cinematography is mesmerizing because it has been crafted for art and not for willful jugglery . The back-ground music scored by Gustavo Santaolalla has impeccably underlined the gravity of the sequences.
In regard to acting, Kirti Malhotra as Yasmin has portrayed her role superb. Her monologues delivered as an audio-visual diaries is class. She has unloaded her dormant emotions. Monica Dogra as Shai is so at ease that the vested role befits her with utmost veracity . Prateik Babbar as Munna with her sound physique bids fair future. Some members may hesitate to digest him as dhobi, though the logic is fragile. It is per- haps Aamir khan's most reserved role with least dialogue. If he wants to be reticent, his underacting is appreciable. Towards the climax, his worth has boldly come to light. A character of an old mute lady with phlegmatic looks is a brilliant portraiture. She is suggestively the silent on-looker and unresponsive, patient listener of the streams of consciousness of all other characters. Last but not the least, the City of Mumbai has been the principal protagonist that has either inserted into the flesh and blood characters or the latters have intruded into the former.